PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 1, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The smallest hearts can have some of the biggest problems, as one in 120 babies is born each year with a heart defect. Today, many teenagers and young adults are breaking new ground as survivors of heart defects that were once lethal in infancy. These survivors are inspiring examples of the advances in cardiology research and care, with many treatments and procedures pioneered at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
Today, the Cardiac Center at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia kicks off Heart Awareness Month, inviting families and individuals whose lives have been touched by congenital heart disease (CHD) to share information about pediatric heart disease and donate to the Cardiac Center at CHOP. Throughout the month of February, 'I Heart CHOP' T-shirts will be available for purchase as a fundraising initiative of the Auxiliary, in support of the Cardiac Center. T-shirts are available online at www.giftofchildhood.org/iheartchop.
"While many think of adult onset heart disease this month, we have an opportunity to raise awareness that congenital heart defects are the most common birth defects in newborns," said Robert Shaddy, M.D., chief of the Cardiology at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "Heart Awareness Month brings pediatric issues to the forefront, and is an opportunity to celebrate the advances that have been made in the field. With all the surgical and medical advances and research that is translated into clinical practice, there are more adults alive today with congenital heart defects than there are children living with congenital heart defects."
The Cardiac Center at CHOP is one of the largest programs in the world dedicated to caring for patients of all ages with CHD. It performs more than 25,000 outpatient visits, 1,500 inpatient admissions, over 1,000 cardiac catheterizations and more than 900 surgical procedures annually. The Cardiac Center offers the most sophisticated surgical and interventional treatments available for children with heart defects.
Babies who are prenatally diagnosed with a congenital heart defect may be delivered in the Garbose Family Special Delivery Unit at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, the world's first delivery unit exclusively for babies with congenital conditions. The Philadelphia Adult Congenital Heart Center, a joint venture between The Children's Hospital and the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, offers expert care for adults living with congenital heart defects.
The Cardiac Center team includes pediatric and adult cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons, pediatric cardiac anesthesiologists, cardiac nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, social workers, respiratory therapists, child life specialists, operating room technicians and many others – all committed to providing a continuum of care for patients with CHD from before birth through adulthood.
"We are also urging people to raise funds for more research and advocate for important issues to help children with the most vulnerable little hearts," added Shaddy.
Children's Hospital has created a customizable toolkit to help families and individuals learn about pediatric heart disease. The downloadable toolkit includes tips on how to spread the word about CHD by sharing a story or promoting a fundraising event with the media, reaching out to legislators or writing an editorial for the local newspaper.
Visit iheartchop.org to learn more. Don't forget to purchase an "I Heart CHOP" T-shirt and show your support of the Cardiac Center at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
SOURCE The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia